Small town, big impact: Colfax High graduate David Bruns

By: Julie Miller, Design and Content Manager
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COLFAX — This is a story about a small-town boy who grew up to do grand things.

David Bruns was born at Auburn Faith Hospital, went to Placer Hills Elementary and graduated from Colfax High School in 1990.

Now living in Virginia, Bruns works at the Washington Post as a part if the paper’s video department. This year that department was key in winning 21 White House News Photographers Association awards (including journalist of the year Alice Li, who is on Bruns’ team), Scripps Howard Foundation awards, a Peabody and two prestigious Pulitzers, for reporting on the Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Roy Moore Senate race in Alabama. 

Bruns is quick to shine the light of credit on his department, which is 70-plus strong. He leads a group of about 10 of those.

Funny, Bruns said after his Colfax High graduation, he initially thought he would become an engineer.

“But it was going to be a lot of math,” he said.

While attending U.C. Davis, he dismissed the math-intense engineering degree and fell back on his interest of journalism which was planted in Rick Brown’s class at Colfax High.

Brown’s class produced the Falcon Free Press, the school’s newspaper.

“I honestly don’t know where I’d be without that class at Colfax,” Bruns said. “I honestly think about it every week.”

“My mom always said that Rick is responsible for me being at the Washington Post,” Bruns added.

To get his feet wet in the professional journalism world, Bruns said he did freelance writing for the Davis Enterprise, Sacramento News and Review, and Woodland Democrat.

To fill in the financial gaps, he waited tables and even played in a rock band.

A big break came when he landed an internship at the Sacramento TV station KCRA.

“I sold my soul to TV,” he joked.

When the internship was over, KCRA offered him a job with benefits. He spent seven years at the station, beginning with the night shift, then worked up to the day side.

“KCRA was great,” Bruns said. “A lot of tremendous people.”

When his contract was up, Bruns answered an ad for the Associated Press in Washington, D.C., thinking if he didn’t like the East Coast, he could go home anytime.

“They flew me out there and got hired,” he said.

After 10 years at AP, Bruns was offered a “dream” job at the Washington Post.

“It’s been a wonderful chilling, ride ever since,” Bruns said.

Bruns married a North Carolina girl, has one child and another on the way.

From time to time, he makes it back to Colfax, and up till last year, his mother lived in the same house in Meadow Vista for 45 years.

When in town, he said he likes to go to Colfax High and run the track.

“I think it has the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen,” he said.